Volume 12 Week 5

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(Posted 8:30 a.m., Aug. 20)
Latest murder mystery dinner production a tribute to the cast iron frying pan
By Fred Sherwin
Orléans Online

North West Mounted Police Cst. Mugford Rush inspects the body of Bester Train in search of clues as to the victim's heinous demise. Fred Sherwin Photo

In the hands of the wrong person, a cast iron frying pan can be a dangerous thing, and I'm not talking about burning the scrambled eggs here. I'm talking about the most heinous crime of all, murder, and how the cooking implement that was standard issue for every prospector and fortune -seeker heading to the Klondike could just as easily be used to kill someone as it could for cooking a rash of bacon.

In Vintage Stock Theatre's latest murder mystery dinner theatre production of "Murder Under The Midnight Sun", the cast iron frying pan plays a key role in the demise of the intended victim, but which frying pan and in the hands of which suspect?

As in any murder mystery production there are no shortage of suspects in "Murder Under The Midnught Sun", the fun part is in trying to figure out which suspect did it and why?

The premise of the play is simple, Dawson is chock-a-block with a cast of characters, all hoping to cash in on gold fever. There's the prospecting trio of Chester, Fester and Bester; Molly McButter the the saloon owner and sourdough biscuit supplier to the North West Mounted Police; Lizzie B. the laundress; Henry the erstwhile teacher; Perkins Maloney, the town clerk; Coco, Rose and Matilda, the local dancing girls; and Cst. Mugford Rush of the aforementioned North West Mounted Police.

When Chester, Fester and Bester come to town suspicions immediately arise after someone attempts to steal Molly McButter`s famous sourdough recipe. The play is acted out on the museum grounds, culminating in the mortal demise of Bester Train, whose head appears to have been caved in by a cast iron frying pan leaving it up to Cst. Rush and members of the audience to detemine who the guilty culprit might be.

As Vintage Stock murder mysteries go this was by far the most difficult to figure out, largely because nearly every character owned a fryng pan, and also because thay all seemed to have a motive.

The murder mystery itself was terrifically entertaining thanks in large part to the script, which was written by local playwrite and Vintage Stock Theatre founder Susan Flemming, and the wonderful cast which was a mix of veterans like Micheline Mathon an Victor Lachance who played Lizzie B. and Cst. Rush, and newcomers like the mother-son duo of Andrée and Jacob Benson who played Rose and Henry.

The rest of the cast included David Elliot as Chester, Zach Hanson as Fester, Eric Lafrance as Bester, Sarah Algozino as Coco, Anne-Carolyne Binette as Matilda, and André Lacasse as Perkins.

The production was directed by Sarah Benfield and produced by Emélie Perron-Clow, with Marseille Lachance, Jacquie Squires and Gisèle Rivest assisting.

If you haven`t been to a Vintage Stock murder mystery dinner theatre production you should seriously mark it on your calendar for next summer and buy your tickets early. Both of this year`s performances were sold out.

As for the theatre company`s next production, they will begin rehearsals shortly for their Shades of the Evening lamplight play which will take place on the grounds of the Cumberland Museum on Sept. 26 and 27, and Oct. 3 and 4. All performances will begin at 8 p.m. The title of this year`s production is "Over There, Over Here", written by Marni Hunt-Stephens.

For more information visit www.vintagestock.on.ca.

(This story was made possible thanks to the generous support of our local business partners.)

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